What’s On Spring 2017

Welcome to our Spring Concert Diary!

Whenever it’s time for me to write my ‘welcome note’ for our concert diaries, I am amazed by the breadth and diversity of the music and performers that we will be offering during the months ahead.

This spring diary is no different. In addition to our roster of distinguished visitors – which counts Louis Lortie, Jennifer Pike and Nobuko Imai amongst their number – you can hear music and musicians from across the spectrum and Birmingham Conservatoire-related concerts all over the city.

During the absence of our main concert hall we have been enjoying our performances in venues ranging from Selfridges to Symphony Hall. We have learned a lot and we look forward to continuing our musical activities well beyond the new Conservatoire’s walls.

Regular readers will know that I dislike singling out individual performances but – as they always insist that I must! – please take on board a rare performance of Frederich Gulda’s wacky Concerto for Cello and Wind (20 Jan) and the Birmingham Conservatoire Ellington Orchestra’s inaugural concert (3 Feb).

Happy listening!

Julian Lloyd Webber
Principal, Birmingham Conservatoire

Please note advance tickets will be on sale soon


In A Strange Land – Ex Cathedra’s farewell concert to the Adrian Boult Hall

Leading UK choir and early music ensemble Ex Cathedra are renowned for delivering performances of authority, style and passion. On Thursday 26 May, they take to the Adrian Boult Hall stage for a spectacular choral send off. We spoke to Peter Tretheway, Ex Cathedra’s  General Manager, to get a flavour of what’s in store for this eagerly anticipated  concert…

Ex Cathedra Hereford Cathedral 2014 - credit Neil Pugh

Credit: Neil Pugh

What can we expect from this performance?

A mixture of exquisite English and New World choral music spanning 500 years, sung by Ex Cathedra’s highly-acclaimed consort of singers, conducted by Jeffrey Skidmore, OBE, Artistic Director of Early Music at Birmingham Conservatoire, and Artistic Director of Ex Cathedra.

Why should somebody who has never seen an early music ensemble before, buy a ticket to this concert?

Firstly, the outstanding quality of the singers and conductor! Ex Cathedra are widely renowned for their early music performances. In terms of the programme – the first half is more ‘traditional’ choral music, so it would be a good ‘way in’ for a new audience member, whereas the second half of the concert will be full of more unusual choral gems from South America, so the listener will immediately be ahead of the crowd having heard this music!

EC Consort in library rotunda - cropped credit Andrew Fox

Credit: Andrew Fox

How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land? Why was this particular verse from Psalm 137 chosen for the theme of this concert?

Psalm 137, the hymn of captivity and longing for homeland and religious freedom, give this programme its title and its theme. The programme explores man’s personal search for heaven and earth in the New and the Old World in the world-changing and turbulent years of the 16th and 17th century.  The title verse seemed to most appropriately capture that theme.

Candlelight Shrewsbury 2015 - credit Roger Cable - smaller

Credit: Roger Cable

In A Strange Land With Ex Cathedra takes place on Thursday 20 May. Tickets are available here.

See here for a full programme listing.

Birmingham Citadel Band @ City of Sounds Festival

Join the Birmingham Citadel Band for an evening of high quality brass band music on Sat 7 May featuring special guest compere and conductor William Himes (OF), soloists Derick Kane (euphonium) and Stephen Kane (baritone), with bandmaster Gavin R Lamplough.

7 May Citadel Band

We caught up with Bandmaster Gavin R Lamplough ahead of the concert to get a flavour of what audiences should expect.

Having performed here many times before, do you have any specifically fond memories of performing at Adrian Boult Hall?

We have had the great pleasure of sharing the stage with a number of well known guests including brass band stars Roger Webster and Phillip McCann and from the orchestral world LSO Principal Trumpet Phil Cobb and LSO trombonist Dudley Bright.
It is always a place that we are proud to invite celebrated guests to perform at and a venue that we are proud to have in our city.

What can audiences expect from the concert and what pieces will they hear?

This promises to be our best concert yet!  It’s going to be action packed with music from the band including established Brass Band repertoire and two world premieres, whilst Saint-Saen’s Marche Militaire Francaise reflects the many orchestral transcriptions that exist for Brass Band.

In addition we have two outstanding guest soloists.  Derrick Kane has been principal euphonium of the International Staff Band for 40 years and his son Stephen is currently the Baritone soloist with the number one ranked band in the world, The Cory Band.  But it doesn’t stop there!  Our third guest will be William Himes from Chicago, USA. Mr Himes is a world renowned composer, conductor and clinician and as well as being our guest compere for the evening the band will feature his music in the second half.

We will be playing a blend of his compositions that display his versatility as a writer. You’ll hear his marches, an extended work and even a piece for band and narrator!

Why have you selected those particular pieces?

Our programmes always aim to have “something for everyone”.  There are extended works alongside lighter entertainment pieces and there is always room for a meditative hymn tune setting for which Brass Bands are famous for!  We hope that there will be something to make you smile, something to inspire, moments to laugh and moments when you will be “challenged”.

For those who have not been to a brass band concert before, why should they come to this concert?

There is nothing quite like the sound of a brass band!  It is a group that has diversity and versatility at its core and this is reflected in our choice of repertoire.  We would urge people who have not been to a Brass Band concert before to come and give it a go and allow the Birmingham Citadel Band to take you on a roller-coaster ride of emotions through our music.  We promise you won’t regret it!

Join the Birmingham Citadel Band on Sat 7 May at Adrian Boult Hall at 7pm as part of City of Sounds Festival. Tickets available from www.birminghamcitadelband.com